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Monday, December 28, 2015

Sausage Sha-Bang Dip

We are SOOO making this for our New Year's Eve Party! You will want to too!
My parents introduced us to this amazing, easy, and new favorite dip a couple months ago. This dip made us say, "SHA-BANG!" It is FABULOUS! Only 3 ingredients makes this dip! Perfect for parties of any kind! Holiday's, football, birthday's, etc. SHA-BANG!

Sausage Sha-Bang Dip

2 lbs Pork Sausage
2 (8oz.) pkgs. Cream Cheese - cut into cubes
2 cans Rotel Tomatoes

In a large skillet brown the sausage. Drain any excess oil. 

Place the browned sausage, cream cheese and rotel tomatoes in a crock pot. Stir the ingredients in the crock pot so the cheese cubes are evenly distributed through the crock.

Cook oh high for 3 hours stirring occasionally. 

Serve with tortilla chips.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Chocolate Dipped Chips

This salty/sweet snack is totally crave-able! My friend Amber introduced me to this a few years back and they were AMAZING! I didn't realize how easy they were until I made them. With more and more football parties coming up this one will be on my "need to make" list. DELISH!

Chocolate Dipped Chips

Line 2-3 cookie sheets with wax paper.

In a microwave safe bowl, place 1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips and 1 tsp. oil.
Microwave for 1 minute & 30 seconds (One and a half minutes). 
Stir until smooth. 

Take your Original Ruffles Potato Chips and dip one end of the chip in chocolate then place on the wax paper lined cookie sheet.

When the cookie sheet is full of chocolate dipped chips, then place in the freezer for 5- 10 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Remove the chips from the cookie sheet and place in a bowl to share! DELISH!

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Twig & Ribbon Tree Ornaments

The symbolism of the Christmas tree means -eternal life and rebirth. What better decoration to have than a symbol of eternity and rebirth?
Sigh.... I love Christmas, especially the evergreen trees!

Check out these quick cute ornaments! These Ribbon Tree Ornaments come together fast and look so festive on any Christmas tree! Just twigs, green ribbon scraps and hot glue! Make them for your own tree or give them as a small gift to a neighbor or friend.

Picture & Written Directions

Twig & Ribbon Tree Ornament Directions

1. Cut equal strips of ribbon. Place a dot of hot glue on the twig and place your ribbon on the glue.

2. Continue dotting the glue along the twig and securing your ribbon to the twig.

3- 5. Take scissors and cut the excess ribbon off to make a triangle. 

6. Secure a gold thread or string to the top with more hot glue and a small ribbon scrap.

Monday, December 14, 2015

4 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

Needing a quick treat to throw together in a matter of minutes? Try one of our family's "go to" fast fixes for chocolate chip cookies. These are made with a cake mix to ensure quick preparation. 
Delicious and EASY!

4 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 White Cake Mix
2 Eggs
1/3 c. Oil
1 c. Chocolate Chips

Mix the cake mix, eggs, and oil together. Fold in the chocolate chips.  

Place by rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

*This recipe makes 2 dozen cookies

Need more cookie ideas?

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Monday, December 7, 2015

Foil Ring Trick for Baked Pies

Protect your pie crusts with this simple trick. An aluminum foil ring over your crust during cooking will keep your pie crust golden brown NOT TURN BLACK! I've had way to many pumpkin pie crusts over the years end up burned! YUCK! All that work for a nasty pie! This tip from my mom has saved my Thanksgiving and Christmas pies forever! SHARE WITH EVERYONE!

Before pie crust preparation make your foil rings!

Step 1:
Place your pie pan upside down onto the aluminum foil and trace with a pen or pencil.

Step 2:
Cut 1/2 inch away from outer edge of the traced circle.

Step 3:
Cut 1/2 inch away from the marked circle in the inner edge to finish your ring.

Step 4:
Place your ring on the empty pie pan to make sure it will fit!
If it doesn't, no problem-try again! 

Place the foil ring over your prepared pie before baking.

Keep the ring on during the duration of baking. 

Remove the foil ring when pie is finished.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Raspberry Lemon Jello

Refreshing and perfect for parties! Make this the day of or the day before an event and leave the stress behind. Let the refrigerator do all the work! This is one of our all time favorite treats! Jello to the max!

Raspberry Lemon Jello

3 1/2 c. Boiling Water
1 Large Pkg. Raspberry Jello (or 2 small pkgs.)
1 Large Pkg. Lemon Cook and Serve Pudding and Pie filling

Sprinkle the Raspberry Jello in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Pour the  3 1/2 c. Boiling water to the pan and dissolve completely. 
Cook your Lemon Pie Filling according to pkg. directions. Pour into the jello and water mixture and mix thoroughly with a whisk. 
Let set in the fridge uncovered until it cools, then cover with plastic wrap. When set and ready to eat, you can frost the whole jello with cool whip or just dollop certain pieces, its up to you.

*Great to make a day before guests arrive, then you can just pull it out when ready to eat.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Butterscotch Pecan Delite

Sweet - smooth - flaky and DELICIOUS! This is an old recipe from my childhood. This is a great "make ahead" dessert for company or parties! Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. Not a butterscotch fan? Try it with Chocolate pudding instead!

Butterscotch Pecan Delite

Layer 1:
1 c. flour
1/2 c. butter (real butter melted)
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Mix together then press into the bottom of a 9x13 pan. 
Bake at 350 for 13 minutes

Layer 2:
1 8 oz. pkg cream cheese (room temperature)
1 c. sugar
1 c. cool whip
Whip together. Dollop the thick cream on top of the crust and spread softly to keep crust from "peeling up."

Layer 3:
2 large pkg. Butterscotch instant Jello pudding mix
3 c. Milk
Whip together and pour over the cream cheese layer.

Layer 4:
Cool whip and chopped pecans.

Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
Refrigerate any leftovers.
*This is GREAT to make a head of time for company or parties! DELISH!
*This is also great with Chocolate pudding instead of Butterscotch! Try it out!

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Crock Pot Pork Stew

I have been craving soups like none other! They're so warm and inviting. With fall here and winter knocking on our door I've been stocking up on soup recipes. This one is definitely a keeper! I have a feeling I will be making this often.

Crock Pot Pork Stew
(Everyone likes some things more than others, so make the quantities to your liking!)

4 pork chops cubed - browned with onion salt, salt and pepper
4-5 russet potatoes - peeled and cubed
1 stalk celery - diced
2 carrots - peeled and cut
1 onion - chopped
2 cans stewed tomatoes - not drained
2-3 cans water (using the stewed tomato cans, add water until all ingredients are covered)
3 T. White Vinegar
1 tsp. Italian Seasonings
2 T. Salt

Combine all ingredients in the crock pot. Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.


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Monday, November 16, 2015

Root Beer Pulled Pork

Prepare it in under 5 minutes then forget about it until dinner! This Root Beer Pulled Pork is DELISH! It's a fun twist on a classic! Top it with our favorite Cole Slaw and this is definitely hard to beat! Make in the morning for those busy days you won't have time to cook. This is AWESOME! Check it out!

Root Beer Pulled Pork

1 Pork Roast or Pork Loin
1/3 c. Brown Sugar
1 (16 oz) bottle OR (2 c.) Root Beer soda pop
1 c. BBQ Sauce

Place pork in a greased crock pot. Sprinkle the brown sugar over top then add in the Root Beer. Cook on Low for 10 hours. 

Shred the pork in the "soda juice" then drain excess liquid.  

Add your favorite BBQ sauce. Stir- Stir then serve!

Serve with our most favorite Crazy Good Cole Slaw (it's better than KFC!)

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Copy Cat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup

We recently went to Olive Garden for a family gathering and had their unlimited soup and salad. I've never tried their Zuppa Toscana but had heard it was wonderful- so I gave it a go. DELICIOUS! I just had to recreate it! Talk about easy and wonderful. Done in 30 minutes! Dinner is served.

Copy Cat Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Soup
1 T. Olive Oil
4 slices of Bacon - cut into small pieces

1 lb. Mild Italian Sausage
1 Yellow Onion - chopped
4 Garlic Cloves - minced

32 oz. (4 c.) Chicken Stock
2 c. Water
5 small/medium (2 large) Russet Potatoes cut and sliced to about 1/4 in thick

1 c. Milk (+1T. flour)
4 c. Chopped Kale
In a large pot place the olive oil and bacon. Cook until crispy. 

Add the sausage, yellow onion and garlic. Cook until sausage is browned and onion is transparent.
Drain the fat. 

Add chicken stock, water and chopped potatoes.

Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. 

Add milk and kale. Simmer for 3 minutes then serve. 
(Don't add kale and milk until you're ready to serve.)


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Monday, November 9, 2015

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Loin

I have a love hate relationship with the word "dinner." I love when we eat together as a family, but I HATE thinking about what to cook all day! It seems like right after lunch I start thinking about dinner - it constantly goes through my mind- dinner - dinner - Dinner - DINNER ! 
Hence, the best invention ever - the crock pot. I love that after lunch and before my mid day slump kicks in, I can put that sneaky word that starts with a "din" and ends with a "ner" to rest. I throw something in a crock pot and when dinner time rolls around - I've already prepared it! DINNER IS SERVED - no hassle - no fuss! SCORE!

Crock Pot Ranch Pork Loin

1 packet Dry Ranch Seasoning
1 Pork Loin
1/2 c. water

Place your pork loin in a greased crock pot. Add your 1/2 c. water. Sprinkle your ranch seasoning over top. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or LOW for 5.

*If you don't have dry ranch seasoning on hand - you can make your own "copy cat" version. If I ever run out I use this...


Copy Cat Dry Ranch Seasoning:

2 tsp. Dry Parsley
1 tsp. Dill Weed
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1 T. Minced Onion
2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Pepper

Mix all together and use 2 T. of the mix for the Pork Loin.
Save the rest for another recipe!

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Gluten Free Dutch Pancake

Delicious! If you have a gluten allergy or not this Dutch Pancake is scrumptious! Topped with simple blueberry sauce this breakfast is fit for a fancy restaurant. Take a look!

Gluten Free Dutch Pancake

In a medium bowl whisk together:
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Olive Oil
1/2 c. Milk

1/2 c. Rice Flour
1/4 c. Sugar
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Whisk together until smooth

Pour into a greased 9 in. round pan.

Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown. 

While the Dutch Pancake is cooking, prepare the Blueberry Sauce.

*This Dutch Pancake makes about 4-5 servings (When I have company, I  make two)


Blueberry Sauce

1 1/2 c. Frozen blueberries (you can also use fresh blueberries)
1 T. Butter
2 T. Sugar

Place all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook on medium high heat until nice and bubbly. 

Scoop and place the sauce over each individual slice of Dutch Pancake.


Try some other Dutch Pancake Toppings! 
Buttered Apples

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

5 fun "Boredom Busters"

Are your kids bored today? With weather getting colder and not as much play time outside, it gets harder and harder to entertain your kids. Well, here are 5 kid tested activities to help you wipe the boredom blues away. 

Play with snack time food! I bring out the pretzels and animal crackers and we make a "Snack Zoo!" We've also made a pretzel alphabet, shapes and rainbows with our snacks! Make snack time fun! 

My kids LOVE - LOVE - LOVE to play in the sink! Get out a few bowls, measuring cups, spoons etc. and fill up the sinks with water and bubbles! If the water gets all over the floors and counters - even better! Simply wipe down the counters and floor that were probably on your "to do list" any way! Good CLEAN fun! 

Play "Left Over Cafe!" My kids LOVE this! I put a funny apron on and we play restaurant! I take an inventory of what leftovers we have in the fridge - along with easy pantry food - (PB&J's breakfast cereal etc. things that don't require cooking) The kids feel like they're going out to eat, and mom doesn't have to cook! Win - Win!

Table tent day a.k.a. "fort day" is always a favorite in our house. I get table cloths and drape them over our dinning room table then let their imaginations go wild. Our Table Tent has been a castle, cave, house and more. Easy and fun!

Mattress slide/ trampoline is probably the boredom buster we do most often. We don't have an outdoor trampoline so this is the next best thing! We upgraded our mattresses a few months ago and have been keeping these in a storage room to grab out for fun! We lay them on the floor like a trampoline or prop them on the couch for a slide! SO FUN!

We hope you enjoyed these 5 boredom busters and hope you got a few ideas for your own family! Kid's are AWESOME!

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Basic Buttery Cornbread

Seriously DELICIOUS! We love cornbread and this recipe is great! 
Cornbread is the perfect addition to just about any meal. Cornbread is our favorite when paired with some of our favorite soups. Soups like Creamy Chicken Chili, 4 Bean & Rice Soup, or Beyond Basic Beef Stew. Yumm.... I'm so making some soup and corn bread for dinner tonight!

Basic Buttery Cornbread

In a mixing bowl combine:
3/4 c. Corn Meal
1 1/4 c. Flour
2 T. Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Baking Soda

1/2 c. Butter (room temperature)

Mix until it resembles course crumbs then add:

2 eggs
2 T. Honey
1 c. Buttermilk

Mix together until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan.

Bake at 350' for 20 minutes

Let the corn bread cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.

Serve with butter and honey! DELISH!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

5 fun Halloween party games!

5 fun Halloween Games!
I have never thrown a Halloween Party and so I felt pretty clueless when I was put in charge of our cub scout Halloween party. I came up with a couple ideas - then my cub partner came up with a few too. It was SO FUN! Our cub scouts (and kids) had a blast!

Game 1:
Decorate your own cookies! Easy for the host and fun for the party attendant.
Make a "cookie buffet" by placing plates, cookies, frosting, knives, and candies. Everyone can decorate their own cookies! SO CUTE and EASY!

Game 2:
Simply blow up white balloons and draw "ghost faces" on them with permanent marker. The task at hand is to keep the "ghost floating" and to not hit the ground! WAY FUN!

Game 3:
Mummy walk challenge! Wrap your legs in white streamer paper AKA "Mummy Gauze". On the count of 3 walk, jump or wiggly and race to a designated ending point without the "mummy gauze" ripping!

Game 4:
Place light weight balls even distances away from a large pumpkin then say...
"These baby pumpkins have been separated from their mother. The only way to return them without harming them is to blow them or gently nudge them with your nose to keep them from crying."
 The first baby pumpkin to reach the mom wins! 

Game 5:
Halloween Bean Bag Toss! This classic game is fun for all ages. Using Halloween treat buckets as targets keeps with the festivity and fun! 

Need another game idea? We also played Halloween Bingo - I forgot to take a picture!
Print the Bingo Cards we used HERE

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

It's soup night! Use the surplus of tomatoes you have in your garden for a "Garden Fresh Tomato Soup." DELICIOUS! Dive in with a grilled cheese in hand and take a dip.

I love this time of year - it's getting cold and I'm craving soups; warm, rich, delicious, soul healing soups! Check this lovely ditty out. It's soup season, and this one is definitely a keeper!

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

In a large pot combine:
2 T. Olive Oil
1 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. Sugar
3 Garlic Cloves - minced
1 Onion - chopped

Saute over medium high heat until onions are transparent.

6-8 c. Fresh Tomatoes - chopped 
(You can remove the skins by boiling in a separate pot and taking the skins off before adding to the soup- but I didn't)

Simmer the tomatoes and onions about 10 minutes.

If you have an immersion blender - use that to blend the tomatoes and onions in your pot until smooth. 
**OR... if you don't have an immersion blender - place all ingredients in a large blender and blend until desired consistency. (This is what I did)

When all is blended - return to heat and add:
2 c. chicken broth
2 tsp. Basil
2 tsp. Salt

Simmer for another 10 minutes.

Dish up and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a grilled cheese sandwich.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Crock Pot Pork Curry

Crock Pot Curry has become one of our family's favorite meals. We eat it quite often. For one, I love preparing food early in the day and forgetting about it until dinner. That's the best thing about crock pots, they're EASY PEASY! And two, they taste AMAZING! My kids love "rice with curry gravy." Delicious! Check it out! 

Crock Pot Pork Curry

4-6 boneless pork chops - cubed

In a large blender place:
1 (13 oz) can Coconut Milk
1 (15 oz.) can Tomato Sauce
1 can Garbanzo beans/chickpeas - drained
1 Onion - quartered
2 Garlic Cloves - minced
1 Large Green Bell Pepper - core and seeds removed
2 T. Curry Powder
1 T. Salt

Blend until smooth.

Grease your crock pot with cooking spray.

Place your cubed pork into the crock pot.

Pour the curry "soup" into the crock pot. Give it a stir to be sure the pork is evenly coated.

Cook on High for 4-5 hours - or Low for 6-8.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro. DELISH!

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